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When Analytics Are Not Enough: PLOS Launches ‘PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey’ So Readers Can Be Heard

UPDATE 2/15/16: The PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey closes Feb 15, 2016 at 12 midnight PT. Thanks to all who took the time to contribute their thoughts and preferences. Stay tuned for news of survey results.

Jan 11, 2016


Today PLOS launches its first-ever poll of the more than 2 million regular readers of its PLOS BLOGS Network of 26 staff and independent science blogs. Read on to find out why, when and how you can participate in this PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey.

What will happen to the data collected? Working with science communication researcher Dr. Paige Jarreau, PLOS intends to use this data to shape the future of PLOS BLOGS, one of the most read and influential science blog networks, and one of few written primarily by researchers for other researchers. Survey responses will also collectively provide insights for research being conducted by Dr. Jarreau on science communication habits in the broad scientific community.


Since its inception, PLOS has worked to make science more open and accessible to diverse authors and readers of the scientific literature. It has done this in traditional and nontraditional ways, beginning with PLOS Biology as an Open Access journal; then, reshaping the literature itself with the creation of PLOS ONE, a multidisciplinary journal that welcomes all ‘sound science.’

PLOS has also worked to make science more open and accessible in informal ways, most notably through The PLOS Blogs Network with its central mission to provide explanatory science within a venue for community discussion. As recently shared in a year-end roundup highlighting the most read (of more than 600) posts on PLOS BLOGS in 2015, the number of blogs on the network and their readerships have grown exponentially.  In the decade since launching The Official PLOS Blog, and in the five years since PLOS began hosting select independent blogs, PLOS BLOGS has expanded to include six staff-written blogs (including Speaking of Medicine, PLOS Biologue, EveryONE), four PLOS Community-affiliated blogs (PLOS Neuro, PLOS Synbio, PLOS Paleo, PLOS Ecology), and 16 active independent blogs – together receiving more than 2.3 million visits per year.

sidebar survey bannerAs a trusted source for formal and informal science communication, PLOS would like to enlist the help of its regular readers to go beyond bare-bones Google Analytics in shaping the future of PLOS’ science blogs. This means tapping your knowledge and hearing your preferences about what and how PLOS should approach the science and medicine covered on PLOS BLOGS. We’d also like to get your input on how to engage better with you, our authors and readers, using social media. To do so, PLOS is working with independent science communication researcher and survey consultant Paige Brown Jarreau to administer a first-ever PLOS BLOGS Reader Survey. This survey will launch on January 11, 2015 with announcements and links to be placed on all PLOS journals and blogs and PLOS social media channels. It will run approximately four weeks, closing Feb 15.

In addition to your content preferences, with this survey PLOS also wants to discover more about YOU as individual readers. Answers to demographic questions will help PLOS BLOGS better meet your needs as research authors, early, mid or later career researchers, clinicians, patients, undergraduate students, science writers, patients, popular science readers – or possibly identify a new category of reader not yet known to us.

tshirtTake 10 minutes to answer 10 questions. Help us improve PLOS BLOGS. Contribute to the science of science communication.

And, be eligible to win a classic PLOS T-shirt.

Survey questions are applicable to any and all PLOS BLOGS Network readers, including visitors to staff, community and independent blogs, and the whole survey requires no more than 10-15 minutes to take. As an incentive, PLOS T-shirts will be awarded to 100 randomly selected people who take this survey! Keep in mind: the more of you who participate, the better PLOS will be able to serve all our readers. So, ‘Be Heard’ — take the survey yourself, and then share the announcement/link with your colleagues!

Thank you for taking the time to help PLOS serve you better.

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